PCBS and the FSS jointly released the SEFSec 2014 Summary Report on the 8th of December, at the PCBS offices in Ramallah. The president and staff of PCBS, line ministries, UN agencies, NGOs and donors representatives attended the event. This presentation come after a very long and challenging process that included the revision of the analysis methodology, which is now based on three pillars: poverty, food consumption and resilience.
"It's an important national survey [the SEFSec], that is of high frequency, which is also being utilized by PCBS as a complementary approach to provide statistical data during the periods between the rounds of the Palestinian expenditure and consumption survey (PECS) which is a large-scale survey and one of high cost" said Ola Awad, President of PCBS, in her opening speech.
Results and figures from the SEFSec survey are being used for contributing to the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) 2016. The graph below shows the overall basic findings from the two last data sets.
The new analysis methodology has been applied also to the previous dataset to show the differences between the two last years. More on this is available in the summary report, accessible from the FSS web site under the Assessments & Surveys section: http://foodsecuritycluster.net/countries/occupied-palestinian-territory.
Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF) and Strategic Response Plan (SRP) gap filler
The HPF Advisory Board endorsed the use of US$ 3 million to address the most underfunded priorities in the SRP 2015. The board agreed to give the priority for those clusters/sectors that have the greater gap on priority projects and these were Food Security, Shelter and WASH. A specific funding envelop was assigned to each clusters/sectors based on the gap/priority analysis. The FSS ceiling was equivalent to maximum 3 projects, 7 for Shelters and 2 for WASH.
Following the SRP 2015 and due to needs related to winter and bad weather, priority was given to projects addressing time- critical winter related SRP 2015 projects. In case of not complete allocation of funds within the winter framework, a second track of funding would have been made available. 5 organizations among the FSS partners expressed their interest to submit winter-related projects, and 3 of them were successful. Two in West Bank (UAWC and Care in partnership with PARC) and one in Gaza (OIT in partnership with UAWC).
An additional emergency proposal has been granted to FAO. The project comes as a response to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 as it's a highly contagious, trans-boundary animal disease. It spreads quickly and causes high mortality of poultry. Unless managed effectively, HPAI H5N1 may cause farmers to lose their flocks and their income, and may also cause communities to lose a major source of animal protein. Therefore, it is important to immediately control outbreaks and prevent further spread in order to lessen the damage to livelihoods. The threat was very great in the Gaza Strip, but a comprehensive approach to capacity building and support is needed throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip to minimize future risks, including possible market disruptions, damage to assets and animal to human disease transfer. Current resources are inadequate for such a response.
FAO in close coordination with Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) requested the funds to support an expert mission to facilitate MoA's internal and external communications, including awareness raising & data sharing; to conduct an epidemiological assessment; to assess gaps and needs for capacity building, understanding risk perceptions of local stakeholders; to determine support required to strengthen preparedness and response capacity, and finally to, facilitate regional cooperation opportunities also identifying available resources.
A total of 83 projects for both West Bank and Gaza Strip were submitted under the FSS HRP. Through the vetting process conducted in both West Bank and Gaza Strip in November, 51 projects submitted by 25 FSS partners (8 are local and 17 international organizations) have been approved to be under the HRP 2016. 24 projects are targeting West Bank only and 54 projects Gaza Strip, while 5 projects include both West bank and Gaza Strip. The total amount of fund appealed for is $322m; 75% for Gaza ($241m) and 25% for the West Bank ($81m).
Briefly, the basic facts:
• 1.4 million total targeted beneficiaries under the FSS plan (79% in Gaza Strip and 21% in the West Bank)
• 60% of targeted beneficiaries are refuges
• 40% of targeted beneficiaries are children, while other groups (adults and elderly people) make the remaining 60%
• The requested funds for food assistance is 54% of the total, for cash-based interventions 27% while 19% of requested funds are for livelihood support
These are the result of the intense work carried out by FSS partners throughout the various phases of the process, including workshops and documents revision work involving around 45 partners. Thanks to these efforts, the Palestinian response plan was part of the worldwide global launch of the HPC 2016.
In-depth assessment Gaza - MoA
The in-depth assessment carried out in the aftermath of the 2014 conflict in Gaza, allowed the MoA to issue updates of the total amount of damages in the agricultural sector:
• The MoA estimates of damages of the agriculture sector in Gaza exceeded $375m. The majority of damages hit the plant production subsector (62.5%), then livestock with 27.3%, as detailed by the graph below:
• The FSS continues to monitor the gaps for addressing these damages, in close collaboration with FSS partners, as detailed in the next section.
Information Management (IM): 3-4Ws and more
• In cooperation with the MoA and food security partners, the FSS coordination team continued updating a damages-response matrix in regard to the last 2014 war in Gaza. The balance remains very negative particularly for totally damaged greenhouses and for water carrier networks, which report a level of reconstruction of 2% and 3% respectively.
• The table at the end of this report shows the damages and response in the agricultural sector as per mid-Q42015. As data continue to flow from partners, the reported figure will be updated.
The FSS is facilitating a piloting exercise for elaborating a resilience marker, with the technical lead of FAO. The scope of the resilience marker is to rank projects according to their capacity to support beneficiaries' resilience. The marker will link the SEFSec survey findings with the prioritization of the response. In fact, the starting point of this exercise is the resilience analysis from the SEFSec. The design of the marker has been driven by the identification of the most critical factors that contribute to weaken resilience in Palestine.
A first testing session took place in November to provide an indication of how many projects can contribute to building resilience within the beneficiaries of the project. Furthermore, as the HRP 2016 projects are finalized, the FSS will conduct a more extensive test on all the projects in the beginning of 2016 in order to fine tune the resilience marker.
Working Group meetings/update
Livestock Working Group (LWG):
• The LWG hosted the presentation of the Livestock Sub-sector Strategy (LSS) 2015-2019. The strategy was presented by the Livestock Department of the MoA and FAO as this strategy was jointly prepared within an EU funded project, with large participation of relevant stakeholders in both West Bank and Gaza Strip. The LSS is completed and the MoA will soon arrange the launch event, making it available to all stakeholders and relevant organizations. This strategy will be considered from MoFAP for planning purposes and the FSS will rely on it for any future vetting or recommendations towards possible interventions. FSS partners active in the livestock sector will have to adhere to LSS guidelines and standards.
• With regard to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which is part of the LSS, the MoA consider it an important achievement that demands increasing awareness especially for the herders. All partners are requested to follow the NAIS procedures, supporting this initiative within herders. The output of this project will be adopted and taken over by the MoA. The initial good results didn't come without limitations and constraints. There is a lot that has to be done to assure full understanding, involvement and acceptance by the herders.
The MoA and FAO in close coordination with the FSS intend to conduct workshops in Gaza and West Bank (starting from January 2016) in order to better present the NAIS, discuss achievements and diagnose risks and challenges of the system, and to come up with recommendations for the future. Animal breeders will also be part of this process.
Cash Programing Working Group:
• The Cash Programming Working group shared the initial work of an independent consultant who has been hired by Oxfam to elaborate on beneficiaries' preferences of assistance (unconditional cash transfers, conditional cash/voucher, cash for work, and in-kind assistance). A meeting was held on December 2nd to present the findings of the study to FSS partners in Gaza. Another task of the consultant will be to assess interested partners capacity in delivering the cash programming models. The expected results of this phase are:
• To ensure that technical assessment on the most appropriate area is agreed upon in discussion with each agency on the basis of the results.
• To generate a brief overview report on the state of cash based programs preparedness in the Gaza Strip, with recommendations for all agencies and the sector.
FSS partners who are active in cash programming will be benefiting from this initiative.
·Avian Influenza emergency in the Gaza Strip
Early in 2015, the Highly pathogenic Asian-origin avian Influenza HPAI virus, type H5N1, also known as 'bird flu', appeared in the Gaza Strip. It affects mainly birds, and is often lethal, endangering farmer livelihoods and presenting significant risks to the poultry sector. In some rare instances, H5N1 has caused human infections, leading to serious illness and sometimes death. FAO supported the MoA and international experts to assess the situation in early August. Ongoing responses seek to enhance:
- Surveillance capacity
- Diagnostic capacity
- Access to equipment and materials
- Communication and coordination
As reported by FAO (October, 2015) for the period from March to October, the following findings were shared:
- 101,284 Poultry infected & culled
- 158,294 Total poultry culled1
- 590,800 Hatching eggs destroyed
- 27,000 Table eggs destroyed
- 14 tons of Poultry fodder destroyed
- 106 Production units directly affected
Only 104,555 US$ were disbursed to affected poultry breeders, however, the estimated gap amounts to 3 million US$.
No new cases were detected in sampled farms since October, but continuous awareness-raising among the general population and the poultry sector as well as capacity building of the MoA in surveillance and monitoring are required to ensure sufficient capacity to identify and respond to future outbreaks.
Following the feedback and comments received from partners, the FSS team continues to work on improving and updating the tools to provide relevant and essential FSS indicators and figures.
Coordination among line ministries and FSS partners
FSS continued to coordinate among line ministries (MoA, MoL, MoSA) and FSS partners mainly for the vetting of HRP 2016 projects as well as crosschecking list of beneficiaries for different projects.
FSS Steering Committer
The FSS SC met at the beginning of November. Main item in the agenda was the presentation and endorsement of the SEFSec summary report. The concept paper for the FSS project 2016-17 was also discussed, endorsed, and recommended for fund raising within the HRP 2016. The SC approved to invite PCBS as a permanent member of the FSS SC.
FSS meetings in this quarter:
• 1 Steering Committee meeting.
• 1 PCBS and FSS workshop for launching the SEFSec summary report.
• 1 Core group meeting for the discussion of SEFSec findings.
• 1 FSS meeting in both West bank and Gaza Strip.
• 2 FSS vetting sessions for HRP 2016 in both West bank and Gaza.
• 2 FSS workshop on HRP (Gaza & West Bank).
• 2 FSS TWGs meetings.
• 2 FSAU meeting including the test of the resilience marker
Lead agencies FAO and WFP
Ciro Fiorillo - firstname.lastname@example.org; Daniela Owen - email@example.com
Sector focal points
Marco Ferloni - firstname.lastname@example.org +972 (0) 546773171
Hosne Barakat - email@example.com + 972 (0) 546773161
Anas Musallam - firstname.lastname@example.org +972 (0) 592030026